Study Finds Conditions Ripe For Major Quake Along San...

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Housing tracts spread out near the San Andreas Fault as suburban... News PhotoCalifornia,Colour Image,Emergencies and Disasters,Horizontal,Palmdale,San Andreas Fault,Suburban,USAPhotographer Collection: Getty Images News 2006 Getty ImagesPALMDALE, CA - JUNE 29: Housing tracts spread out near the San Andreas Fault as suburban sprawl continues on June 29, 2006 near Palmdale, California. Scientists are warning that after more than 300 years with very little slippage, the southern end of the 800-mile-long San Andreas Fault north and east of Los Angeles has built up immense pressure that could trigger a massive earthquake at any time. Such a quake could produce a sudden lateral movement of 23 to 32 feet which would be among the largest ever recorded. By comparison, the 1906 earthquake at the northern end of the fault destroyed San Francisco with a movement of no more than about 21 feet. Experts believed that a quake of magnitude-7.6 or greater on the lower San Andreas could kill thousands of people in the Los Angeles area with damages running into the tens of billions of dollars. The San Andreas Fault is the point of collision between the Pacific and the North American tectonic plates of the Earth?s crust. (Photo by David McNew/Getty Images)